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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

RCPsych in Northern Ireland welcomes Compton Review

Embargoed until 13 December 2011

The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland today welcomed the emphasis on mental health and learning disability in John Compton’s Review of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, including recommendations to improve mental health services for young people, to promote early intervention, and to enable people of all ages to be treated in their own homes.

Dr Philip McGarry, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland, particularly welcomed recommendations that the Executive consider alcohol price restrictions, which the College had argued could be the single biggest act that Government could undertake to improve health and wellbeing.

Dr McGarry said: "This review has acknowledged that mental health services receive up to 30% less funding in Northern Ireland than elsewhere in the UK, and we are very pleased that a fifth of the recommendations in this report relate to mental health and learning disability. The emphasis on providing services away from the hospital setting and on early intervention on conditions such as psychosis is encouraging."

The College agrees with Bamford’s goal that people with mental health problems and learning disabilities should not be living in hospital, but is concerned that people should not be moved into the community without the right accommodation, proper support and services to live full and independent lives, and support for carers and other family members.

Dr McGarry said: "It is entirely right that people should not be living in hospital, but neither should they be moved out of hospital to meet a deadline for the sake of a change of address. So while we welcome the commitment to resettle people into the community in line with Bamford’s recommendations, we would stress that Compton’s recommendations around accommodation, integrated community services, carer support and respite care, and personalised budgets need to be implemented before this deadline can be met."

Dr McGarry continued: "The Compton Review provides the opportunity for a radical reshaping and modernisation of health and social care in Northern Ireland. While investment is needed in the short term, and this has been outlined in the report, much of this is about changing the way we do things rather than more expensive services in the long term. Psychiatrists are open to new ways of working, and we look forward to working with the Department to implement these recommendations."

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896


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